Santino Pasutto emphasizes that salespeople need to take time to plan out their territory and understand their numbers. If you’re allowed the time to measure twice and cut once, it will expedite the outcomes everyone is looking for.
Santino shares the unique ways that territory management directs his steps in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Don’t miss it!
Santino notes that your plan boils down to the product or service that you’re selling. Some salespeople sell agnostic products whose client base is broad and varied. Others have a very narrow and prescriptive client base. If you’re in the healthcare space, your targets are likely hospitals. It’s easy to determine who to approach. But if you sell a service that a plethora of businesses can benefit from, your ICP is far different.
Who is going to use your product or service? What is their ICP? You have to determine their firmographic information. How many employees do they have? How do you access them? What industry are they in? Where do you sell well and what do those clients look like? Pinning down the ICP within your geography is key.
Then you must look at buyer personas. Who are you selling to within the accounts? What problems are you solving for them? Santino looks at his existing territory and the margins and penetration rates within those accounts. He looks for where he gets the most bang for his buck.
Which accounts are the most growable? Which are the most at risk? This helps him determine where to prioritize his time. He doesn’t want to spend a lot of time focusing on accounts that are transactional or low-margin. It’s all about looking for a mutual fit where you can earn a fair margin.
If you’re selling to a hospital, you could correlate the revenue to the number of beds they have. What’s the revenue per operating unit of a business? Use that as a rule of thumb. Look at the number of beds with other accounts and look at your revenue as a percentage of that. How does that compare to an account where you believe you have all their work?
Determining penetration rates helps you establish a benchmark with known accounts where you have a 100% share of wallet. You use that benchmark to compare to similar accounts to estimate your wallet share in them.
What are the attributes and characteristics of a great territory sales planner? Listen to hear Santino’s thoughts.
Santino emphasizes that sales professionals need LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Santino uses it to define ICPs and identify buyer personas. Santino also uses job boards to look for buyer personas by their titles. He’ll read their job descriptions to learn how his product or service helps them address their everyday tasks.
You also need to calculate the opportunity that you have in each account. You have to leverage the data available to you to scale your territory, sell effectively, and have high win rates. To do that, you have to focus on where you sell the easiest and the most. Look back at your accounts and look at the ICP, revenue, and margin in those accounts. You will see a sweet spot—hone in on it.
Santino had taken over a territory in the medical device world managed by a top rep. The market penetration within key accounts was solid. Santino had to find somewhere to grow, so he started looking for the easiest accounts to grow into. Leadership felt his time was spent in rural accounts. But Santino realized the effort to sell into those accounts wasn’t the best use of his time.
So Santino looked at key accounts and how he could double down on growth. They were overly focused on top-line growth and not enough on the quality of that growth, i.e. the margin. Santino would have had to sell 2–3x the amount to rural accounts to achieve the same bottom line he was earning in larger accounts. One deal in one of these accounts was equal to 10–20 deals in the potential rural accounts.
So he decided to drip campaign smaller rural accounts and hone in on larger city accounts. His risk was higher because the opportunities were fewer but the sales process was the same. He’d rather spend six months on one deal than several smaller deals. How did his plan play out? Santino shares the whole story in this episode. Give it a listen!
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Tibor Shanto points out that creating a great territory sales plan includes building a blended pipeline. It needs to consist of current customers and revenue as well as up-and-comers in the industry. You must maintain the old and be open to the new. Learn more about how he approaches building his territory sales plan in this episode of Sales Reinvented.
Tibor Shantolikes to create a simple graph to help him plan his territory. One axis is the likelihood of a deal closing within the next two cycles. The other axis is the total value of the deal. It helps you look at your best opportunities based on reviewing deals you’ve won and deals you’ve lost. The goal is to spend your time where you’re most likely to close a deal.
Then you drill down further. What factors allowed you to close those deals? You have to understand what it will take to hit your quota and what the addressable opportunities are in your area. Most salespeople want to continuously expand their territory. Why? Because they don’t know how to drill down further into their own territory.
Secondly, Tibor points out that you must start spending time disqualifying prospects. The right opportunities will help you hit your quota and you need to doggedly ignore anything else. It’s hard to accept but he notes that only 56% of B2B sales reps make quota. He emphasizes that you shouldn’t worry about what you’ve missed—worry about what you lost that you were supposed to get. If you can identify the opportunities that make the most sense to you based on data then ignore what doesn’t fit the template. You have to play to your skills and strengths.
Tibor introduces his clients to the concept of the 360 Degree Deal View. It helps them look at why they win or lose deals. When people do deal reviews, it tends to be a lovefest. But you want to go back six months later and ask how you’ve been able to change a customer’s workflow. If you understand how you do this, you can see who's best going to fit your template. Again, you have to ignore what doesn’t fit. You have to be objective and avoid deviating from your plan.
It all comes down to attitude. When people ask Tibor why he was successful, he points out that it’s simple—he wanted it more than the next guy. That’s something you can’t teach. Any competitive athlete completely understands the power of mindset, determination, and self-discipline. The general public doesn't necessarily have these characteristics.
A software company in the late 90s recruited college football players who weren’t drafted. Why? They had drive, the ability to follow a playbook, discipline, and the ability to be coached. That software company got acquired. It worked for them because their exit strategy materialized. Tibor doesn’t believe that salespeople with soft shells will survive. There aren’t participation trophies in life.
You must understand what you’re looking for. What’s worked for you in the past with your accounts and territory? A blended pipeline is key. If you focus on different accounts, you can get much more volume done—and as a result—earn higher commissions. So start by plotting out a clear plan on a grid and be disciplined while remembering to adapt as needed. You can’t just double down on territory planning and stop prospecting. If you don’t prospect, you don’t have a territory.
Tibor also advises salespeople to look for lookalikes similar to your prospects. Why is a lookalike the same? How are they different? Where are the greatest number of interceptions? Go after those. You know the jargon, you know the story, so show up and present how you’ve just succeeded for the last client. Most people tell him they appreciate that he works with a competitor because they don’t have to educate him on the basics of the business—he can hit the ground running.
Tibor looks at the top dozen accounts in his territory. He’ll look at where he’s at with them this year and make projections for the next year. What is the gap in his quota and projections? Doing this allows him to understand how he needs to service his top customers. Secondly, it allows him to look at the up-and-coming in his territory.
Tibor set his sights on someone making noise in the business. Many other people ignored them because they were second-tier. This one small company grew and became a dominant player in the industry. That’s why you have to build a blended pipeline. Even if a prospect isn’t the most sought after, it still has value. Don’t ignore less attractive prospects that might save your hide as long as they fit your plan. Tibor points out that you should always leave room for flux and luck.
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Joe Girard points out that salespeople don’t actively think about their territory sales plan and tend to be more reactive. But companies get held hostage by the best their salespeople can do. Without a plan, you aspire to be the best and just hope it happens. But a company can’t survive on hope. That’s why creating a territory sales plan and executing that plan is key. Hear more of Joe’s thoughts on the strategy in this episode of Sales Reinvented.
Most salespeople are busy getting leads and trying to convert them. But you must take a step back and make a plan. Joe notes that it’s very uncomfortable for salespeople because they feel like they need to be selling. But they need to do more of the right things. How do you spend more time doing the right stuff and less time doing things that won’t make an impact? Focus on high-value activities.
Joe implores salespeople to use a ranking system. Look at the opportunities you think you should go after (your ICP) and rank who you want to sell to. Then rank the activities you need to do to sell to them. Rank your team's level of ability to do those activities. Then you have to execute that plan. You have to commit to 90 days or six months and see your plan through. Give your team the space to execute the plan and be successful.
But you also have to be adaptable in the trenches. How will everything you do contribute to your plan? You need to make your plan, test it, and come back and revise it as needed. It’s an ever-evolving sales process. You’ll begin to see repeating patterns. Then you can build out best practices and share them with your team.
Are you serious about your results? Joe always sets a 90-day plan or sprint. Then he breaks it down into activities and holds himself accountable to those activities. Implementing a 90-day sprint helps you focus.
Secondly, if you’re trying to figure out how to help new customers, talk to old or current customers. How did your service or product help them? Validate your assumptions and build in a feedback loop. Get the customer language into your sales language.
Make the time to plan and review your work. Even something as simple as looking at your daily activities. Did you miss something? Write it down and make a plan for the next day. Then review the week and make sure you didn’t miss anything. If you did, knock it out and close out the week.
Joe notes that there’s no shortage of training and tactics and it can be overwhelming. He emphasizes that it’s not about what you can put into salespeople, it’s about what you can pull out of them. Territory sales planning should be about making the most of each individual and helping them shine.
When Joe started in sales, he wasn’t doing well. His boss told him that if he didn’t pick things up in the next 60 days, he wouldn’t make it. The other rep working with Joe gave up and went to work for the competition. They were sitting at $2.3 million between the two of them. Joe put a plan together—based on him being the sole salesperson—to reach sales of $4 million. Joe was told that if he didn’t hit his target, he wouldn’t get paid. He had to almost double his current sales.
So he broke down what his activities would need to look like monthly, weekly, and daily. He looked at how many people he needed to have on his list, how many he needed to talk to, and how many appointments he needed to book. You have to break things down to what needs to happen every day to stay on track. You can’t make up for lost weeks and months. By the end of the year, Joe hit his target and surpassed it—landing at $4.1 million. He didn’t work harder but made the most of his time with a clear plan.
Low-level salesmen who make plans can outperform the highest performers if they build a good plan and execute it day after day. It’s all about execution. Don't wait for someone else to tell you how to plan your territory and above all—don’t give up.
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Wes Schaeffer states that his purpose in life is to rehabilitate salespeople and train their managers. Most managers are hired from within because they were successful. They were successful because they were hungry, aggressive, and impatient—not necessarily because they were the smartest or most detail-oriented salespeople. Those attributes are at odds with the management role. Those skills can harm them because they are aggressive and impatient with their team.
They’re putting pressure on their salespeople but don’t have the skills to teach them. Salespeople are left on their own to make it or break it. Territory planning isn’t taught. If it is, it’s taught from a book—not from someone who did it successfully. So how do you change that? Find out from Wes in this episode of Sales Reinvented.
Most people are reactive to everything in their lives—it’s not even necessarily a sales problem. The type of people that are drawn into sales are outgoing “people’s people.” They’re not engineers or accountants but simply good at making friends. Their personality is not methodical and goal-oriented. They're relationship-oriented. Now, they’re being asked to plan.
Wes wrote “The Seven Deadly Sins of Selling.” The first sin is shooting from the hip i.e. winging it. Most salespeople have been hired as a cultural fit. A sales manager probably isn’t detail-oriented or has a methodical process for hiring and onboarding. There isn’t a culture built around territory planning.
Wes instructs managers to manage activities and pay on results. Just like losing weight, closing a sale is a lagging indicator. If you want to lose 10 kilos in 90 days, stepping on the scale at 90 days only proves how diligent you were at following the process. What did you eat for every meal? How did you exercise? Maybe you hired a fitness coach or a dietician. Maybe you have a tracking app, planned your meals, and planned when to exercise and how much. If you’re diligent for 90 days, you’ll hit your goals.
Sales managers don’t give salespeople the activities to do. Wes tells people to batch phone calls: before breakfast, during lunch, and at the end of the day to get around gatekeepers. He has different scripts for each call. They’re telling a story through multimedia and different steps. Wes gives his community a way to track their time in 15-minute increments. Whatever you measure, you can improve. Break your big plans down into 15-minute increments, i.e. what you have to accomplish to reach your lofty goals. When you are diligent with this, you’re more likely to be successful.
Wes emphasizes that the mantra “Always be closing” is crap. This idea was propagated when people the age of our grandfathers were in sales. Yet we still live by the adage. Wes’s version of the ABCs is “Always be curious. Always be courteous. Always be concise.” Ask more questions. Take a step back and ask, “Where are you a product fit? Why do people buy your stuff? What pain do you solve?” Start there. Where do these people congregate?
Wes was working for a startup in Austin, TX. The technology was beneficial in the healthcare space. Wes looked at technology in healthcare and there was a huge community with state and regional chapters. He joined those chapters and became active in those communities. He went where the fish were. You can’t just go to the local swimming pool and drop a pole in the water because it’s convenient.
Wes gives out a free guide called “Process Before Login.” The concept is that you need to document your steps and track your activities before you log in to any tool. Because a tool won’t save you. You know what your territory is. You have to figure out how to get in front of people. Can you knock on their door or go to events where they congregate? Once you plan daily and weekly activities, you can manage them. How many phone calls can you make? How many emails can you send? How many handwritten letters can you write? Do you have scripts for text messages? How are you engaging people on social media?
If you're in B2B, LinkedIn can be good. But Wes gets more crappy messages on LinkedIn than anywhere else. Why? Because people don’t know how to communicate. People are spending money to get in front of Wes with an awful message. Learn how to communicate. Blog. Write a post for LinkedIn. It can even be a FAQ post. Prepare written answers to objections ahead of time and link it to a blog or LinkedIn post you’ve written. Your prospect will be impressed. They’ll think you know what you’re talking about. If you do anything, Wes implores you to just start writing. Write a daily article for LinkedIn that your prospects would be interested in. Your life will change in 30 days.
What are Wes’s three sales planning dos and don’ts? Listen to find out—they might really surprise you.
How do you take control of your territory? How do you disqualify a prospect to focus on the important accounts? Listen to hear Wes’s process!
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